Nine U.Va. Education Scholars, Four Alumni Make Public Influence Rankings

January 16, 2014

Nine education scholars at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and four Curry alumni have been named to the 2014 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, which recognize faculty members who “contribute most substantially to public debates about education.”  Produced for the blog “Rick Hess Straight Up,” the annual rankings were published Jan. 8 in Education Week.

The selection committee – composed of members who were listed in the 2013 ranking – chose about 200 educators from more than 20,000 university-based faculty tackling educational questions in the U.S.

For the first time, two Curry School faculty members cracked the top 20.  Carol Tomlinson, the William Clay Parrish Jr. Professor of Education, placed 16th. Curry School Dean Robert Pianta also increased his ranking, now as the 18th-most-influential, university-based scholar.

The creator of the rankings is Frederick Hess, a former Curry professor and current resident scholar and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, who studies K-12 and higher education issues.

The rankings are based on eight factors: a Google Scholar score, which gauges the number of articles, books or papers a scholar has written that are widely cited; book points; the author’s highest-ranked book on Amazon; the number of times the scholar was quoted or mentioned in the education press, blogs, newspapers and the Congressional Record; and finally on their Klout score, which tracks the number of times an individual is retweeted, mentioned, followed, listed and answered on Twitter.

According to Hess, “the extraordinary policy scholar excels in five areas: disciplinary scholarship; policy analysis and popular writing; convening and shepherding collaborations; providing incisive commentary; and speaking in the public square.”

A signifier of the high level of work taking place in Curry School’s education policy program: half of the faculty members in that program made the list, including former dean David Breneman (No. 91), Newton and Rita Meyers Professor in Economics of Education; James Wyckoff (No. 103), professor and director of the Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness, a collaborative program of the Curry School and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; Sarah Turner (No. 106), University professor of economics and education; Daphna Bassok (No. 180), assistant professor; and making the list for the first time, assistant professor Ben Castleman (No. 198).

Michelle Young, professor of educational leadership and policy and executive director of the University Council for Educational Administration, was ranked the 128th-most influential scholar.

Rounding out the group of nine U.Va. faculty making the list is Daniel Willingham, professor of psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences and a scholar affiliated with the Curry School’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (No. 32).

Four alumni of the Curry School of Education also made the list. Jonathan Plucker (Ph.D. ’95, educational psychology) was ranked 94th in his current role as professor of educational psychology at Indiana University-Bloomington. Patrick McGuinn (M.Ed. ’02, education policy), associate professor of political science at Drew University, ranked 166th. Christopher Loss (M.Ed. ’00, social foundations; Ph.D. ’07, higher education), an assistant professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, was ranked 193rd. Assistant professor Michelle Reininger (M.Ed. ’01, education policy) of Stanford University was ranked 200th.

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